Heart attack is the second most common cause of death in Singapore. Heart attack occurs when the coronary artery supplying blood to the heart becomes hardened or blocked, subsequently cutting the oxygen supply to the heart. The part of the heart muscle that is oxygen-starved begins to die, resulting in heart attack.
As your cardiologist in Singapore would explain, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is an established procedure to replace blocked or hardened arteries and restore the supply of blood to your heart.
Your cardiologist will refer you to a cardiac surgeon who will perform the CABG surgery. During the CABG surgery, the cardiac surgeon will take a healthy artery or vein from your arm, body (internal mammary artery) or leg and graft this into the areas of the blockage.
The healthy artery restores the supply of oxygenated blood to the part of the heart that needs it, thereby, “bypassing” the blocked or hardened arteries and enabling blood to flow to the heart muscle once again.
How do you know if you are suitable for CABG surgery? What questions can you ask your cardiologist to prepare yourself for the procedure?
Your cardiologist may recommend CABG surgery if you were diagnosed to have serious coronary heart disease which may lead to heart attack. Moreover, your cardiologist may refer you to a cardiac surgeon for a CABG surgery during or after a heart attack to treat blocked arteries.
Here are questions you may want to ask your cardiologist about what to expect before, during and after a CABG surgery:
If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking before the procedure. Proactively, your cardiologist would also advise you to make healthier lifestyle changes, including eating less fatty foods, having lesser stress, and quitting cigarette smoking.
Your cardiologist will advise you not to eat 6 hours before your operation. You will also be given a laxative to be taken the night before the operation to clear your bowels.
A CABG surgery before a heart attack may help prevent it, but this does not absolutely guarantee you will not suffer from a heart attack especially if you have not changed your lifestyle. Your cardiologist will recommend making healthy lifestyle changes as mentioned above.
The pace of recovery depends on your state of health before the surgery. To help you recover, your cardiologist will advise you to attend a recovery programme.
As your cardiologist would explain, the cardiac surgeon will normally perform two incisions, one from the source of the healthy artery (arm or leg) and another along the mid section of your chest where the healthy artery will be sewn around the blockages of the coronary artery.
Your incision will completely heal between 6 weeks and 2 months, assuming there are no complications.
It depends on the nature of your work. Unfortunately, some people may not be able to return to work after the surgery due to the severity of their heart disease. Others who have desk jobs can return to work in 4-6 weeks while those who perform manual labor may have to wait 3 months before resuming work.
Your cardiologist will recommend 30-minute walks every day, quitting cigarette smoking, eating a balanced diet low in salt and cholesterol among others.
Heart attack is a silent and swift killer. Talk to your cardiologist in Singapore about proactive heart care today.